NBA

Maxey continues growth with pivotal display as Cunningham endures more shooting woe

By Sports Desk November 05, 2021

The Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers are headed in different directions once more this season, with the Sixers' win on the road on Thursday defined by two young players at different stages in their development.

Philadelphia claimed a 109-98 victory, their fifth straight triumph, in Detroit despite having to use an eight-man rotation for the second successive game.

The shorthanded 76ers were without Furkan Korkmaz because of a wrist injury and former Pistons forward Tobias Harris was again sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.

Seth Curry racked up 23 points while Tyrese Maxey continued to excel filling the void left by Ben Simmons as he finished with 20 points.

Maxey, playing on his 21st birthday, produced a pivotal third-quarter effort, his nine points in the period giving the 7-2 Sixers the lead after they had trailed 66-63 half-time.

"I wasn't ready to be doing that when I was 21, that's for sure," Curry said. "But once you get out there, everyone is the same age.

"He's been growing a lot, he’s been learning. Coach is tough on him. I know at times a lot of us veterans are tough on him, yelling at him, trying to get the ball, or expecting a lot out of him, but he's taking it in strides, not complaining about it, and he's putting in the work.

"He's competing and I'm glad he’s rolling with us."

"He was great," said coach Doc Rivers of Maxey. "He looked at me and I'm like 'What're you looking at me for? I don't have anybody'. You're the youngest, it's his birthday today, I figured use it and so he did."

Maxey, in his second season in the league, was an efficient eight of 12 shooting, but Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham was not as clinical, though he did post 18 points and 11 rebounds.

The first overall pick missed 13 of his 17 field goal attempts and is 17.9 per cent from the field for his first three games for the 1-7 Pistons having missed preseason and the start of the season with a sprained ankle.

Yet Cunningham believes he is progressing even after another poor shooting display.

"I feel a lot more comfortable with the ball, but I obviously haven't been efficient shooting in my first three games," he said.

"I didn't have a training camp, but the guys are supporting me and they keep getting me the ball."

Pistons center Isaiah Stewart added: "We're telling him to just keep shooting the ball. The shots he's missing right now are shots we've seen him make a lot. Those are going to turn into points pretty soon."

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